I don’t know if it was the initial intention when The Night Shift was launched (most shows take time to find their footing), but it has become a showcase for the different aspects and challenges of veterans’ lives as they return from war, whether it’s their access to healthcare, inability to get a job, PTSD or reintegrating and feeling “normal” again.
On the whole the show is a bit over-the-top, and I would not have bothered to watch except that I needed something as background noise during an intensive project. While I did not love the show or anything, I was struck by its intention to bring real heart to its telling of veterans’ stories….
It has been especially good at portraying the bond/camaraderie that cements these soldiers together when they come home – the struggle against their own pride and the feeling that you have lost everything and cannot (and would not know how to) ask for help. One guy discusses having been a leader of men when in the war in Afghanistan but coming home to be nothing – not being able to “find their way back” – and that is where I think the show does its best work. That said, it would be impossible for me – or anyone who has not served in the armed forces or in some other kind of conflict or crisis – to say whether or not this is an accurate representation. But it tries, and getting some visibility on some of the more invisible issues at hand cannot be a bad thing.